What are the chances of your child inheriting Duchenne muscular dystrophy?

Couples who are planning to conceive may sometimes wish to speak with an Ob/Gyn about their health history beforehand. A preconception health visit evaluates the medical conditions that may affect the pregnancy, the mother or the child. In some cases, an Ob/Gyn at Riverside Community Hospital may refer couples to a genetic counselor. A genetic counselor can explain the likelihood of the child inheriting a genetic disorder, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The basics of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Muscular dystrophy is a group of uncommon diseases. Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a progressive genetic disorder. It causes muscle degeneration and weakness that typically starts very early in life, and becomes much worse by adolescence.

Because adolescent patients begin to experience heart and respiratory difficulties, in past years, they did not usually live long into adulthood. Life expectancy for these patients has been improved with better care, and many of these patients can now live into their 30s. Some of them have lived into their 40s and 50s.

The likelihood of inheriting the mutation
Female children inherit two X chromosomes. Male children inherit an X and Y chromosome. Since the genetic mutation that causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy occurs on the X chromosome, females are almost never affected by this disease.

Boys inherit the X chromosome from their mothers, which means the disease is passed down on the maternal line. Each son born to a mother who carries the mutation has a 50% chance of inheriting it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If a female does inherit the mutation, she isn’t likely to be affected because she has another X chromosome to compensate for the deficiency. However, she will be a carrier of the genetic disease, and her sons will have a 50% chance of inheriting it.

Riverside Community Hospital is a state-of-the-art medical center that provides a full range of medical services and specialty care. Every day, our team strives for healthcare excellence because our neighbors in Riverside matter to us. If you’d like to speak with a registered nurse or request a referral to an Ob/Gyn, you can call (951) 788-3463.

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